By on November 4, 2011

Donovan writes:

Hi guys,

I follow TTAC kind compulsively on a daily basis. I have a very nice 2005 Honda Accord. Its the 2.4l 4 pot, i-Vtec and a stick shift to boot. The car has a LEV sticker and I believe it was one of the first motors to pass some stringent emissions standard (California I think). I bought it 2 years ago and it was a sweet, certified deal. It is also, now paid for. I keep a log book for gas mileage and the car averages 28 / 29 MPG and I can be a bit of a lead foot now and then.

What exactly is my problem, you might ask?

Firstly I am frustrated with the sedan body, having owned many hatchbacks. Second the car is now approaching 7 years old and is about to clock 100K miles. The mileage does not bother me much as I think this motor can easily do double that but when selling the car not everyone will see it that way.

It is a good car to keep and its a good time to let the car go. If I was to replace the Accord these are the important factors. I don’t want any big debt right now but some debt is O.K. My priorities are for a practical hatch back, good handling, good gas mileage and reliability. I really like the Nissan Juke but I am not sure I can get a 2nd hand one easily.

Thanks for your advice.

Steve answers:

No you can’t get a second hand one these days. Even the ones you could get will go for higher than retail due to their use as finance fodder for consumers who can’t get conventional financing.

My advice is to go out and rent something that interests you. Then just weigh in on the decision a bit more. A fellow who goes by the name Rivethead who had the misfortune of assembling cars during the 1980’s once said about the different jobs at an assembly plant, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Until you have to start mowing all that shit down.” The same is true when considering the benefits and drawback of a hatchback versus a sedan.

For more utility, you get more noise. For every dozen or so nice conventional plain-jane sedans. You can purchase a unique fashionable model that offers ‘take it or leave it’ looks along with a heaping load of debt.

Since you drive a four cylinder / five speed Accord, there should be no harrowing costs on the horizon. In fact your second hundred thousand miles should cost less than the first hundred thousand so long as you keep up on the maintenance.

My advice is to keep what you have and sample whenever the mood strikes you.

Sajeev answers:

If I remember correctly, my folks had a brand new 2001 Mercury Mountaineer with a “ULEV” sticker on the window, a big honkin 5.0L V8 and knobby/explode-y Firestone tires. Cutting edge stuff right there, for sure. So I am pretty sure someone in the 1990s made this whole LEV thing work. But that’s neither here no there…

I see a few weekends on test driving in your future. Try to make it fun, insist that you are in the “exploratory phase” of your purchase to all salesmen, go out for a nice lunch too. Make it an event worth experiencing! Maybe a Mazda 3 will suit your fancy. Or a Honda fit.

Would I buy another car if I was in your shoes? Hell no! That’s one of the nicest Honda products in recent memory, and it will last for decades if you do whatever the owners manual says. And it will get better with age, when you replace key suspension bits with mildly spicy aftermarket ones. This is a no brainer: run with what you brung…son!


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70 Comments on “New or Used: Run What You Brung…Son!...”

  • avatar

    Let’s see…no known issues, good fuel economy, predictable longevity…oh, and it’s PAID FOR?? Ummm…keep the thing for another 7 years! If you need more “utility” then fold the rear seats down (if they do that).

    • 0 avatar

      Spend a little coin for a nice Thule/Yakima rack system, so you won’t miss the hatch so much. And start banking what you would have spent on a new ride, there’s a lot of miles left in that rig.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I keep seeing that word ‘PAID FOR.’ No brainer.

      Fact is, I was this writer for a good 7 years, myself. Had a ’96 Accord with a 3rd pedal that crossed the 100k mark around 2004. Seats were frayed, car looked like ass, the handling was pedestrian, to put it mildly.

      Started doing research for what I thought would be the inevitable purchase ‘next year.’ But two things kept the safety on: 1) the four banger was bulletproof for another 100k and change, 2) the thing was paid for. ‘Next year’ turned into 6 years later.

      Ironically, my current car is a hatch, and I don’t know how I could have lived without it’s utility. Oh, that’s right, the Honda four-banger was rock-solid, and PAID FOR.

      Keep the maintenance up, save away, and buy a personal halo-car with the cash you would have sent to the financer in 2-4 years. Oh, and once you do that, keep the Accord for a daily to buffer your new whip’s depreciation. Even with insurance & taxes (and the used-premium monkey) you’re not going to get the value the car can offer you by selling it.

    • 0 avatar

      “Let’s see…no known issues, good fuel economy, predictable longevity…oh, and it’s PAID FOR?? Ummm…keep the thing for another 7 years! If you need more “utility” then fold the rear seats down (if they do that).”

      I agree, except for the part about folding down the seats. I’d think about picking up a very-used beater vehicle for heavy hauling. Old minivans are cheap and disproportionately capeable, old Rangers are cheap and fun to work on, and old SUVs are a dime-a-dozen these days. You can get something really good for $3500-$5k, though it does help to be paranoid about mechanical problems.

      If you drive your good car most of the time (and it does sound like a very good car), you might be able to drive a beater truck a few times a month. If you drive it that rarely, then it doesn’t matter what the efficiency is.

      OTOH, if you’re one of those people who need to haul a pile of model airplanes or surfboards every weekend, then a different solution may be required.

      • 0 avatar

        Also, I’ve found that driving multiple vehicles helps me to tolerate small annoyances in one vehicle. If I’m not subjected to the same f-ing rattle under the seat every day, then it’s a lot less anoying. It becomes a fact of that car, rather than a fact of my life. Also, having a backup vehicle means that a car being down for maintenance is a much smaller inconvenience — which means that I can make a car go much farther because it can be 90% reliable instead of 99.5% reliable.

      • 0 avatar

        Both of our cars are old enough that I’d like a spare vehicle, which my wife vetoed several months ago. She’d rather I sell what I have and buy a late model used car. One of those things where I’m probably going to have to turn up with it one day already bought and let her get over it.

        Her mental picture immediately turns to the guy across the street with five cars, only three of them running.

  • avatar

    This sounds familiar. I have an 03 Accord Coupe with the 4 banger, 5 speed and 145,000 miles. No major problems yet, just wear items like brakes, tires, etc. I think some suspension parts are due though. I figure I’ll drive it until the wheels fall off and it’s not worth repairing and I’m aiming for 250,000 miles before that happens. Good luck with yours.


  • avatar

    My wife and I had a 1991 Honda Accord Ex. Kept it until 2010. Your seven year old Accord is just getting warmed up! And I believe it does have split rear folding seats. Keep it, and see how far it can take you.

  • avatar

    Even if it sounds like a keeper both mechanically and economically, I absolutely loathe sedans, and can’t think of any good reason they didn’t stop making them the day long rear hatches and folding rear seats were invented…
    Don’t know if there’s anything in the US market today that would work though.

    • 0 avatar


      there are plenty of good choices in the hatchback category in the US, sadly not one from Honda, unless one goes with the smaller Fit. A shame really when it comes to Hondas and hatchbacks anyway.

      That said, I agree, the hatchback is one of the most versatile body styles out there, save the small wagon for hauling bulky stuff when needed.

  • avatar

    I go through this from time to time with my 98 TL. It’s been great so far, and with 140k miles it will most likely continue to be. I fondly remember my old Integra and our 5-speed Outback (my wife took that over)…I miss the utility and stickshift. I get tempted by all the new compacts coming out, such as the Focus and Impreza. Really like both, need to drive them though.

    Then, I get back in the TL and turn on the heated seats and adjust the climate control (it’s been in the 30s/40s here), and point that good ole’ flat Honda hood towards home. The torquey V6 and automatic are very smooth and the ride is getting on the soft side (ok on the freeway). Visibility is great, power is good, stereo is good…no car payment is even better. I’m not a “luxury” kinda guy, but the comfort features sure are nice. The comfort of having something dependable is even better. Even so, a new alternator, starter, HVAC blower motor, tie-rod, etc is the same as one month of a car note.

    So, keep the Accord and maybe get a roof rack with a basket or something for when you need to haul something big around. Upgrade the suspension a little if you want a more “sporty” ride. Enjoy the room and comfort you currently have.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Keep it man. If you’ve got room for another car in your life start looking around but that Honda ain’t gonna cost you nothing in the foreseeable future as long as you keep up the maintenance. You’ve got a love to rev 4cyl attached to a manual trans. Unless you’re hunting for pinks or live in a mountainous area where you need more power, what more do you need?

  • avatar

    Yes it should go another 100K but the question is are you willing to do another 100K in the car? If not it is the time to move on as that will be cheaper in the long run. With under that magic 100K number a new car dealer would be willing to keep it on the lot if it is in good condition. For a consumer with good credit they can finance that under 100K mile car at their local credit union at rock bottom rates. So if you hang on to it for just another year or even 6 months is does become much less attractive to many potential purchasers and it will be harder to get top dollar. At that point it is easy to get married to the car and need to keep driving to get your money’s worth out of it. IE I just put a clutch in it so I can’t sell it now. I just put new tires on it so I better do that suspension work ect. In the long run yes it will be cheaper to maintain it and drive it till it dies. If you don’t want to do that it will be cheaper to sell it now while you can get top dollar out of it and get something you want to drive for the next few years.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t worry so much about the higher mileage affecting resale, but the customization. I don’t understand why people do this to their cars. First, most of the time, it’s just ugly and secondly you’ll never get your money back spent on the frivolous customization. I suppose it’s ‘special’ and one of a kind….but just to you. I’d stay clear.

  • avatar

    My wife has a ’98 Accord LX 2.3 VTEC 5-spd. It rolled over 190k yesterday. It’s still nice and tight, the engine runs like new, and it still get 29 mpg…low 30’s straight highway at 75 mph.

    Problems? Uhhh…I had to have the starter rebuilt. It’s right on top of the engine, so it took me about an hour and $70. Everything else is original except the water pump and spark plugs- even the cap & rotor are original (auto parts stores don’t even bother carrying them ’cause they last forever). Even the clutch is original. I just change oil with synthetic every 6k or so, and new transmission oil, brake fluid, and coolant every 50k. That’s about it. Very comfortable and roomy car, too. It’s the “ultimate transportation appliance”

    Oh yeah- it could use a new catalytic converter, too, but I just bypassed the sensor. It still sniffs clean- just not LEV clean (the ’98 Accord was the first LEV certified gasoline car on the market)

    You have nothing to worry about except chainging the timing belt/water pump in about 5k miles.

    We look to replace it from time to time, but then realize the newer cars aren’t much better (and often WORSE when it comes to interior materials and sightlines), and this car costs almost nothing to drive- especially since it’s essentially done depreciating. When we do replace it, we’ll probably get something like a Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V. I’m not so impressed with the current Accord, and a compact SUV would be better for biking and skiing.

  • avatar

    1998 accord 4 cylinder auto with 167k here, runs awesome except the suspension needs work. I am quite tempted at getting a new 2011 f-150, but i keep remembering that all i need to do is bring out the trusty harbor freight saw-iz-all in the garage and cut out the rear trunk bits and i can take home all the 2x6x10s that i might need for a home project.

  • avatar

    If it were me I’d keep the Accord until the thing fell apart. I’d buy a little fold-able utility trailer for the times when I needed a bit more cargo space. With the left over money I’d buy a fun car for the weekends. Miata, Triumph Spitfire, etc can all be had for little money.

  • avatar

    Keep the Accord, buy a $3500 CRX or Miata project car you can wrench on until it runs and rides the way you want it to.

    • 0 avatar

      Right On. I have a 90 Miata I commute in and knock around in. Got a 93 Land Cruiser I pull my camper with and haul crap with. Over half a million miles between them. I’d sell the miata though, but 12 miles per gallon and a worsening knock in the Land Cruiser make me rethink that.

  • avatar

    Yeah, keep the Accord. Our 1992 went to 245,000 miles and still had the original clutch. We did replace an igniter. Sometimes I wish we’d kept it – I loved the free-revving 4 and 5-speed.

  • avatar

    I’d endorse Dave7’s trailer recommendation.

    Using Edmunds, if you get a new Accord (and I’m comparing base vehicles, here, your numbers may be a touch higher) your depreciation over a year of normal wear and tear will be something like $3377. For your current vehicle, your depreciation is something like $1341. The new car costs you an extra $2036 in depreciation, so your focus on resale value suggest sticking with the older car. If you think you have more than $2K in repairs coming up or could dodge an expensive XXK mile maintenance interval charge, that might be an argument to sell it but these are pretty reliable cars and $2K in repairs seems unlikely, to say the least.

    Also, with the old vehicle, in Minnesota you’d be saving several hundred bucks in vehicle tax. And likely saving a few bucks on your auto insurance. I wouldn’t be surprised if your savings (unless you had a very unpleasant maintenance surprise) are somewhere between $2K and $3K per year.

    Now, if it’s worth $2K or more per year to you to get a car you’d prefer to this one, go for it. I wouldn’t but I’m not you, I like disposing of my disposable income in other ways (e.g., travel).

    If you *need* a different vehicle (“Honey, guess what?! The doctor says it’s triplets!!!”), that’s a different matter.

  • avatar

    A. Keep the Honda.
    B. A Juke?!? Eek!! Have you SEEN those things?!!

  • avatar

    The trailer idea is great. You can buy a hitch from Uhaul for cheap, even a daily rental on a small utility trailer is $25.

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      I’m not sure why Hitch Cargo Carriers are not a popular solution for a sedan. When the hitch is there for the bike carrier anyway and the platform stores in your garage and goes on when needed. Cooler, Hauling a new apliance, garage sales furniture. Then make it folds away. Annoying to park yet not impossible.

  • avatar

    Put progressive springs on it, nice shocks, nice brake pads, will give you that new car feeling for another few years.

  • avatar

    Time to tug on Superman’s cape and spit into the wind. If you ask this question here, you will get the “keep it, it’s paid for and good for another 100k” every single time. It is absolutely the sensible, practical, economical advice in your case. So are you feeling sensible, practical and economical? If so keep it. If not, start sampling and move on.

    The B&B have become boring and predictable. Not everyone wants to drive their car for the last 50-100k it will ever be driven. Some of us get bored of our cars, want something different, or just something newer. I can tell you now, I’ll never be the last owner of any of my cars, and probably not the first either. I like the slice in the middle, post depreciation and before it becomes an antique. So decide what you want. If it’s a hatch, there are a bunch. But, given some of the nice hatches that just recently launched, like the Focus and Forte, I’d wait just a bit longer until those are affordable.

    • 0 avatar

      Boring and predictable can have some utility, particularly since autumn, 2008. The used market (slicing in the middle) is not a value proposition, unless Donovan is willing to trade his car in for something damn close to identical to what he has.

      If this were a mid-mileage domestic, he has money to burn, and/or is pining for something specific (other than a first-year Juke,) I think the team would substantially less boring/predictable.

      I’m with the OP on the sedan vs hatch thing, but without a doubt the B&B are onto something: couple hundred bucks on new rubber and/or mods might scratch his itch.

      One additional tell that I don’t think he’s ready is his hatch-pining. We’re fixing to step into another hatch renaissance. By the time he puts another 50k down on his Accord, he can buy a used low-mileage Fit/Fiesta/M2 simply by pilfering the fruit jar, or he’ll be able to scoop up a used FT-86 in the low five-figures. That’s not he case today.

      • 0 avatar

        Unfortunately, I hear the FT-86 is not a hatch. A shame, since it would have added some utility to the equation. A hatch would basically make it a RWD RSX Type S.

        Speaking of the RSX Type S, that sounds like it is right in Donovan’s wheelhouse.

        Another hatch the OP can consider that has similar value (maybe even less?) than his accord is the previous generation Mazda6. They can be tough to find though. He could even take it one step further and look for a Mazda6 wagon. They sold them with a V6 and 5-speed! Again, tough to find.

        For something older, he could try to dig up a BMW 318ti. He could use the money saved from buying something that old to make it reliable and still have cash to spare. This nets a small hatch and RWD (if he cares about that). Age and relative rarity would make these real tough to find, especially where they salt the roads.

        Just some ideas to keep an eye out for.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. I find it surprising that a board full of car enthusiasts constantly suggests driving the same car basically forever. Don’t you guys ever get bored and just want a change?

      I also find it funny how often backup cars are recommended. Repairing what you have is always the practical and sensible thing, so recommending an additional car seems counter to the practical and sensible logic. Maybe it is because I haven’t tried it, but I can’t see how it makes financial sense to maintain and insure a backup car. It can also be difficult to find a place to park it.

      The B&B seem to have conflicting priorities with these two suggestions.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        They are, but many of them are also cheapasses who would rather have three hacked-together Starlets than one new Yaris. I suspect some of them secretly lament that cars don’t have side-valve engines, cardboard door panels, and foot pump windshield washers anymore.

      • 0 avatar

        An extra car is a great way to go, really. I have a very close to showroom car that will be 17 years old. It’s fun to have people admire how meticulous your car is. An extra car for commuting, trips to Home Depot, skiing, etc makes it easy to preserve a special car.

        If the OP has the space, I’d buy a special fun car and use the Accord for the daily driving chores. Mixing it up with another car will make the Accord less of a drag to keep…

      • 0 avatar

        I have been driving for over 40 years, have had a backup vehicle for the last 10 years.

        All our cars are older models, our cost of ownership is minimal compared to what it was when we drove two new vehicles.

        Our cars are not crap either, one Lexus, one German sports Coupe, Ranger pickup.

        Occasionally we need a repair done, because I can drive the other car I can shop the job around or DIY. No such thing as an emergency.

        If you have parking for it an extra vehicle is great.

      • 0 avatar

        Wouldn’t a rental when you need one be cheaper than insuring and maintaining an extra car? I’m playing devil’s advocate here hoping the B&B can convince me I’m wrong on this. I would love to be able to justify an extra car, like a miata.

        The added variety and convenience have to be worth something I guess. Maybe just another aspect of car enthusiasm that transcends hard numbers.

      • 0 avatar

        Our backup vehicle costs less than $40 a month to insure, tags are $54 a year.

        The trick is to make sure you drive and maintain all of them “about” equally.

        If you have a rental car agency that is open all hours conveniently close by that’s a possibility.If you don’t need a car at all and can use public transportation no need either.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, lets tell everyone with a perfectly serviceable car to go mortgage their future on whatever the flavor of the month car is on the interweb. Let’s suggest he buy some money pit Euro station wagon he needs more room for his dog on vacations. Or tell the guy who’s all caught up in what his toolbag, Bimmer-snob coworkers think to go soup up a Crown Victoria so they can see how much better “Buy ‘Merican” is. Is that what you’d prefer? Because we haven’t already done that a thousand times, right?

      Everybody eventually needs a newer car, and I don’t think it’s necessary to keep them until the wheels fall off. Yeah, I get bored with my cars – too quickly, in fact. But then I think about all the money I’ve blown buying and selling more cars than was necessary in the past decade. My current car kinda sucks, but it’s paid for. Every month I hold off on replacing it is hundreds of dollars that can go to any number of more important things.

      The economy’s in the toilet. The last thing I’m gonna do is tell someone who’s on the fence that they need to go out all half-cocked and buy a new car.

  • avatar
    George B

    Keep the Accord, but spend a little money to have it detailed. If the body panels, paint, and interior are in good shape, picking up a newly cleaned car feels great and it’s much less expensive than picking up a newly purchased car. In addition, I like to rent cars for road trips, trying out other vehicles while putting big mileage on someone else’s car.

  • avatar

    There is no obvious problem here, Donovan is just getting bored with the vehicle. Nothing wrong with that. I would recommend buying a cheap second car. Preferably something that won’t depreciate much further, like an older Miata or something similar. Get one with faded red paint, polish it up, drive it for a year or two till you get bored, and sell it for the same price you bought it for (or more if you clean it up).

  • avatar

    You’re OK making payments? Great! Start putting car payments in the bank. Once you really need a new car, you’ll have a fair chunk or maybe all of it saved up.

  • avatar

    Keep the car but save your money for repairs. If yours is anything like my ’92 was at 70K miles you’ll need it. AC this, that and the other (all expensive to fix). CV joint and axle replacements (expensive and fairly frequent on Accords). Expensive ABS wheel sensors. Have your Accord’s cheap-a.. interior door handle bezels broken yet? Seats so hard only Fred Flintstone could get comfortable. Hondas are overrated, but at least yours is paid for.

  • avatar

    Yeah, you should definitely keep that car. I traded my 2005 Accord (like yours except automatic) for a bit of cash (after I paid off the loan) and Grandma’s Buick (which has since turned into the money pit from hell and will have to be sold/traded in soon) with the idea that a paid off car would be better than sticking out the loan. It would’ve had just over 100k miles on it now and I’m positive it would not have as many issues.

    There’s honestly not a single day that goes by that I don’t berate myself for making such a stupid choice. Knowing what I know now, I don’t think I would even take the Buick for free if it meant getting rid of the Accord.

    Not sure if you can tell, but I really miss it. Sure it was boring, but there’s a lot to be said about a car you don’t really have to worry about.

  • avatar

    Keep it! I’ve got a 2003 Accord Coupe–EXL, 4 cylinder, 5 speed–that just hit 180K this week. It drives like the day I bought it new, and the only really costly repair so far was the inevitable cat failure at about 160K. I intend to keep driving it until Honda builds something I want to buy again.

  • avatar

    Come on people he’s got a case of hatchback blues. No matter how good the current car is why should he torture himself by keeping it?

    If he can afford it he should get what he wants. This is the US of A where he is free to do so if he pleases.

    It’s not like he’s going to send it to the scrap yard it’s just getting passed on to a new owner to enjoy and possibly actually love it.

    To those that keep saying the economy is in the tank so he shouldn’t buy a car. If he can afford it buying a car will help the economy. The longer people who can afford to buy something keep saying but the economy is in the tank the longer the economy will be in the tank.

  • avatar

    “…but some debt is O.K.”

    No, it isn’t. I’m a cash-on-the-barrelhead guy, and if asked I’ll tell anyone not to buy anything until they can pull fresh folding out of their pocket. Debt is a trap: we buy on credit because we don’t have cash, and we don’t have cash because we’re making interest payments on our credit purchases.

    But, different strokes. So I’ll end by recommending a bit of self-examination to think about why you really want another ride (did a buddy just buy some nice wheels? Any other kind of consumer culture pressure? Just restlessness?). Try the approach Steve recommends, because whims come and go; the trick is to let them blow over.


    …and yeah, I’ve still got my ’91 Accord.

  • avatar

    I’m in a similar boat with my 7-year old G35. The only difference being I only have 60k original owner miles on mine. If I keep it till I hit 200k I will have it for aproximately another 14 years. That’s something I am definitely not willing to do.

    My issue is that I think I should dump it while it’s still worth something. It is starting to nickel and dime me too, the CD changer died for the second time and now the power drivers seat no longer moves fore and aft. The windshield leaks. The G35 has some of the most uncomfotable seats I’ve ever sat in.

    Life is too short to drive the same car for 15 years and I’m not getting any younger. If you have the cash, I say go for it. It’s not like you are looking to upgrade to a Benz.

    • 0 avatar

      Definitely move on before you have to drop real money to repair it. If that starts you feel like you have to hang on to it to get your money’s worth (as Scoutdude already mentioned). It’s a black hole, trust me.

  • avatar

    Some good suggestions here even if some are rather predictable.

    That said, I totally agree that with most Hondas, the 100K mile marker is just puppy miles. I should know as I bought a 1983 Civic in 1992 with just under 113K miles on it in very good shape, save for the clutch and the clutch cable and while at it, had the timing belt and water pump replaced since there was no evidence it’d been replaced since the initial 60K miles and got a new 90K mile belt while at it.

    It served me well and got me to just under 183K miles when I sold it and the only reason was it got rear ended and began leaking water inside the car, causing mold and mildew and while it ran good, it WAS beginning to show its age in other tangible ways like the ignition switch, the heater blower motor went and I had to replace that and the multiple function stalks had to be replaced as the washer switch went bad and the replacement didn’t have the intermittent wiper function as it came from the base Civic, that kind of thing.

    The 88 Honda Accord I inherited from my dad lasted me 8 years and went to just over 180K miles after I got it with something like 123K on the clock when I got it in 1998, sadly, it was rear ended in 2005 and had been suffering from some maintenance lapses for the last 3-4 years due to a lack of funds but sold it on Craig’s List for $900 still running even though it needed new brakes and clutch (most likely) but had also been rear ended and was missing its muffler as a result and needed new tires to a fellow who had the exact same car, same color but a much better body but with a blown motor. He bought mine for the motor primarily and that’s what we’d asked of it in the first place.

    So you CAN get plenty more miles on a typical Honda if you keep up the maintenance.

    I have 235K+ miles on my 92 Ranger truck currently so if I can do it on a Ford Ranger, then a Honda can certainly last at least that long.

  • avatar

    Sounds like he just doesn’t like the car anymore. Practially, keep it til it dies, and he’s money ahead. BUT, it’s kinda like being in love, either you are, or your aren’t, and it sounds like he’s not. Personally, I’d keep it, it’s paid for, it’s a solid car, and as long as you take care for it, it’ll last. However, like love, if you’re not in love, you’re gonna move on, no amount of practicality (is that a real word?) reality will keep him in it. Given that, he’s going to move on, no matter what the numbers say. Sounds like he wants someone to say “you’re right, get rid of it and go into debt”. But then I tend to find cars I like and drive them til they die.

  • avatar
    PJ McCombs

    Being a car enthusiast means you have your automotive flings and fancies, just as people with other interests blow money on things that they don’t strictly have to. I know plenty of people who could have bought a nice project car with the cash they’ve spent on kitchen/cooking stuff, furniture, musical instruments, personal training, etc.

    Given the resale on your car, you could make a very healthy down payment on a number of not-too-used cars that make driving more of an ‘event’ than most Accords, and still get good mileage and hold up well.

    I’d go first-gen Honda Fit, Mazda 3 hatch, or 5-door SVT Focus (if you can track down a good one) if you’re after a 5-door, or a late-model Acura RSX or Toyota Celica GT-S if you’re more into 3-doors.

    You wouldn’t be looking at much more than $10K for any of those, and they’ve already lost most of the value that they’re going to lose–so you couldn’t call any of them a grossly irresponsible financial decision.

  • avatar

    Keep it. We also own a 2005 Honda Accord sedan with the 2.4 4-banger and the 5-speed manual transmission. Yep, the exact same car. It is the ultimate gray-may vehicle: it blends into traffic like a lane divider. We love it.

    The rear seat does fold down, but in one piece. I’ve gotten up to 38mpg on rural highways at 55-65mpg if I egg-pedal it — my teenage son can get the mpg down into the mid teens if he works at it. It is dead simple and very cheap to maintain. I bought it used two years ago with an extended warranty and it is still worth about what I paid for it due to the weirdness of the market. So, if you decide to sell it take your time and get top dollar for it–these things have not depreciated at all in the last year or two.

  • avatar

    I was in a similar position last year, with a 2004 accord. My car was an automatic though, and I wanted to swap it for a stick, so I was perhaps a bit more motivated to get rid of it.

    I was debating whether to keep it when I came across a sweet deal on my Audi A4 6mt that had been collecting dust on a dealer lot. I really enjoy my new car, and for me it’s been worth it especially now that I changed jobs and have to commute 45 mins each way, but what everyone else says is true about the money.

    If money is at all tight for you, keep the honda. It will run forever. If not, I would say just start shopping around. Especially towards this time of year, there’s usually a dealer somewhere that had a manual transmission car they just can’t get rid of that you can swoop in and get for below invoice. Or wait a couple years for when the Mazda Skyactiv cars hit the pre-owned market.

  • avatar

    Never understood the “I need to sell it while it’s worth something” comment. Unless gas prices drop by a huge amount, any somewhat frugal smallish vehicle is always going to be worth something.

    This includes vehicles like this Honda,small pickups and sports cars. At some point these vehicles almost stop depreciating even if they just run OK. If it’s legal and is current on emissions you would have to fight off buyers IMHO.

    And yes if you trade it in, it’s going to auction. Sell it yourself and make twice as much.

    • 0 avatar

      If he’s bored of the car and wants another car, it’s always best to sell before someone thinks it has depreciated more. And the big round numbers (100k 150k and 200k) always seem to trigger something in many used car buyers minds. Mostly connected with older cars that really were used up by the 100k mark.
      I once drove the same car for almost 2 years :O And that was enough for me. Even if the other car I bought was a similar car with a bigger engine and more equipment :

    • 0 avatar

      Yes they eventually almost stop depreciating but this particular vehicle is right at the edge of another steep slope in the depreciation curve. It is also entering the time when more expensive repairs and maintenance are likely to occur. So keeping it for just another 2 months could cost an easy $1000. He won’t be able to argue that it’s only 7 years old and a car with a clock that reads over 100K just isn’t as desirable to most people as one that is under 100K.

      • 0 avatar

        You must have a different definition of the word “steep”.

        Having a new car that loses $3000-5000 in it’s first year is steep.

        It’s a 5 speed Honda Accord, not a BMW 7 series.

        That car will easily sell with 100,000+ or 150,000 miles any day of the week.

        And that potential $1000 repair (3 car payments) is true for any vehicle out of warranty.

        Nothing wrong with wanting / needing a new car, very rarely is it cheaper.

  • avatar

    If you have an itch, SCRATCH!!!!!!!
    Once you’re out of love, you’re done. Sell it for top dollar (used car market for Hondas is HOT right now) How happy or sad you will be about the swap in a few years is totally dependent on a smart choice in the NEXT car.

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